Gray divorce occurs when couples who are very close to retirement age or who have enjoyed decades of marriage choose to end their relationships. Gray divorces have been on the rise in recent years even as divorce rates among younger people have declined.
There are many experts who loudly warn that gray divorces are dangerous for the people involved, as they may struggle to retire the way that they had planned to previously. Despite those sometimes well-founded concerns, the benefits of pursuing a gray divorce often far outweigh the costs involved in pursuing a divorce later in life.
What are some of the benefits of filing for divorce when you are close to or past the age of retirement?
1. Reducing your personal stress
Maybe you and your spouse fight constantly and turn every interaction into an argument. Perhaps you barely talk at all. You may find the thought of spending another two decades at home with them exhausting.
Those coping with some kind of spousal misconduct may find their marriage to be a serious source of stress. If your spouse cheats on you or wastes your shared resources by gambling or shopping unnecessarily, you will likely worry about your retirement stability. Divorcing when your spouse is a main source of your stress could actually protect your health during your retirement.
2. Making retirement living more feasible
Perhaps your spouse has become alienated from your children, and your kids have told you that they welcome you but will not allow the other parents to live with them if your health fails as you age. Maybe your spouse has never really carried their weight around the home and expects you to continue cooking and cleaning despite being retirement age yourself.
It can be a lot easier to manage a one-person household after divorce, and you may have an easier time connecting with social support from family and friends if you end a relationship with someone who is toxic to not just you but others.
3. Pursuing happiness in your golden years
Have you discovered that you love spicy food but your spouse hates the smell of curry? Do you want to travel while they would prefer to stay home watching old television reruns? Does your daily schedule tend to deviate from the one your spouse keeps, or have your values shifted?
If your looming retirement makes you imagine nothing but compromise and sacrifice, that is hardly an appropriate retirement after a long and productive adulthood. If you divorce, you may both be able to enjoy the retirement that will be best for each of you.
For many people, the possibility of chasing their own joy, choosing how they spend their days and even eating their favorite foods can be the most powerful motivation behind pursuing a divorce later in life.